Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Midseason review: Michigan
Record: 5-1 (1-1 Big Ten)
For the second straight year, Michigan reaches the midpoint in good shape, boosted by a dynamic young quarterback and several exciting wins, including one against Notre Dame. The key for the Wolverines is not to let history repeat itself from here on out. Despite some tough games ahead, Denard Robinson doesn't seem like the type of player to let that happen. The sophomore quarterback has been nothing short of spectacular in the first six games. He led the nation in rushing until Week 6 and, perhaps more important, showed growth as a passer after being totally one-dimensional in 2009. Robinson needs to rebound from a three-interception performance against Michigan State, but he has a lot of big plays left in him. The big concerns for Rich Rodriguez are becoming bowl eligible, stemming negative talk around the program if things start to go downhill and finding some answers for a woeful defense. Michigan ranks third nationally in total offense (533.7 ypg) but last in the Big Ten in total defense (450.7 ypg). Greg Robinson's unit continues to suffer major breakdowns, and while the secondary has some excuses (youth, no depth), the front seven must do better. If not, Rodriguez's only hope is to keep winning shootouts, a formula that typically doesn't work in the Big Ten.
Offensive MVP: QB Denard Robinson: Shoelace has been the most exciting player in college football through the first six games. He already has recorded the top three total offense performances in team history and ranks second nationally in both total offense (369 ypg) and rushing (165.7 ypg). Perhaps more important, Robinson is 12th nationally in passer rating (164.1). He can't make mistakes like he did against Michigan State as the competition will get tougher, but Robinson's value to Michigan is not up for debate.
Defensive MVP, DT Mike Martin: Michigan's defense has a chance when the front plays well, and Martin is the anchor of the group. The future NFL draft pick boasts tremendous strength and can be downright disruptive, leading Michigan in both tackles for loss (5.5) and sacks (2.5). He might get overlooked on a lousy defense, but Martin plays at an All-Big Ten level. Linebacker Jonas Mouton also merits a mention after recording 56 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions and a sack.